Did you know that November is American Diabetes Month? Diabetes is a huge problem faces American adults and children alike. Diabetes has become so common that nearly 10% of the population—1 in 11 people—have diabetes, and nearly three times that number are at risk of developing diabetes. At the Medical and Surgical Clinic of Irving, we wanted to explore what causes diabetes and how to combat this growing problem.
There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes is also known as insulin-dependent diabetes and is possibly caused by genetic or environmental factors. With type 1 diabetes, the pancreas struggles to produce insulin. On the other hand, type 2 diabetes, or non-insulin-dependent diabetes, occurs when the body cannot process its own insulin. Oftentimes, type 2 diabetes is linked to inactivity, excess body weight, or genetic factors.
If you are worried about diabetes, what can you do? One of the most important things to focus on is your diet. Too often, the food and drinks we consume contain too many sugars and lack the proper nutrition that our bodies need. Instead of foods heavy on calories, fill plates with vegetables and unprocessed foods instead. Generally speaking, if half of your plate has non-starchy vegetables, you are in good shape. The other half of your plate should contain lean protein and a healthy carbohydrate, like brown rice or whole grain pasta.
Activity is another important step in fighting diabetes. In this day and age, it is very easy to get sucked into inactivity. On top of leisure activities like movies and television, more and more Americans are working office jobs. A good idea is to set limits to how much time you sit still every day. Even at work, you can move about the office once every hour or so. You should also consider lifestyle changes, like walking to lunch or holding walking meetings.
Diabetes is a serious health risk that endangers the lives of countless Americans. This November, take the time to join the fight against diabetes. While sometimes diabetes is outside of your control, this advice will help minimize the risk of developing diabetes.